504 Plan for Autistic Child

Hi Parents,

Our son was recently received a full psychological assessment through the school district. Even though he has a medical diagnosis of Autism, he did not qualify for an educational diagnosis of Autism and did not qualify for IEP services. He is a very kind, bright, empathetic child. He is very smart and I know will do well academically. However, I am still worried about how he will do socially. He has trouble picking up on social cues, initiating play in a way that others understand, and will sometimes use animal voices instead of voicing his needs. I appreciate it as his unique way of being, but also realize this could be difficult on the playground. Has anyone had experience creating a 504 plan for their autistic child? What sorts of accomodations did you include that proved helpful in a kindergarten class? Any suggestions on collaborating with classroom teacher or principal?

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I'm very surprised your child was assessed (not diagnosed since school assessments aren't diagnoses, they're assessment for eligibility) but not entitled to an IEP. To be honest, before we had the (private neuropsych) autism diagnosis for our child, the (previous) principal at our elem school worked so hard to obstruct my child's access to services. Please do not settle for the 504. In another recent post, others have recommended DREDF as a good resource for info and advocacy. I also eventually paid for COPAA membership, when I was looking for an educational advocate -- which has a forum of parents navigating legal and advocacy needs for children. It's helpful to hear how others frame their approach to school dynamics. 
My kid lost two years of possible supports, including during the pandemic, and when I tallied just one year's expenses and costs to me, it was mind blowing, as well. Your child is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). My kid is now thriving in a 1:1 teaching environment and they told me it's the first time since kindergarten they like school. They are in 6th grade. They are intellectually gifted, charming, and creative. Finally those qualities are nurtured and their challenges are supported. 

if I had to do it again, I would not have settled for the intermediary steps. Happy to talk to you off the site. 


Yes, my son had a 504 first and then an IEP, which we had to fight for. Did they evaluate social thinking and sensory integration (defensiveness and seeking)? Those needs usually require direct services (individual and/or group), in addition to accommodations. Districts cannot deny services simply because children are functioning within average ranges academically. They need to consider social thinking needs (services from an SLP with autism spectrum expertise) and sensory needs (services from an OT). Check out Social Thinking accommodations online for ideas. For collaborating with school staff, share with them Beyond Rain Man: What One Psychologist Learned Raising a Son on the Autism Spectrum (IndieBound.org).


I am not a parent of an autistic child and this does not answer your specific questions, but as someone with some experience on the education evaluation side of things - if you are concerned that the psych assessment conducted by the district did not accurately or thoroughly assess your child and the IEP is important to you, you have the right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) to be funded by the school district. Maybe you already know this, but just in case, posting here. You may not wish to request an IEE as the school can file due process if they disagree (which could lead to a hearing), but you do have the right.


Hi - I’d rather not discuss on a public forum, but you can contact me through this I believe. 



You know your child better than anyone else. Do you agree with the school district assessment? If not,  you have the right to request an independent assessment from qualified specialists, at public expense. This request should be made in writing and directed to the school district.